Math Counts 2023

Lake Road student wins district-wide math competition
Posted on 12/05/2023
Bowen Crook, Landri Slayton, Kathern Harris, Harper Olivas-Zuniga and Chance Goins,

A Lake Road Elementary student won the Math Counts championship last week, advancing among hundreds of fourth graders across the district.

Chance Goins answered 59 of 60 possible multiplication problems correctly in two minutes, vying against finalists Harper Olivas-Zuniga, Bowen Crook and Landri Slayton of the Middle School on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the Ridgel Branch of the Poplar Bluff Library.

“You all are already winners, being one of four out of nearly 400 students – representing your school district, classroom and families,” said organizer Kathern Harris prior to the competition. The fact that a student from the much smaller of the schools beat the odds is a sign of “consistency” in curriculum across the district, Harris noted.

Three weeks of preliminary rounds were held at the respective buildings in November, according to district instructional coaches, Michele Carmode and Kyler Sowell, who helped facilitate the quizzes. Chance shared how he studied online daily over fall break, with the exception of the Thanksgiving holiday.

“He worked so hard and spent a lot of time prepping,” reflected Chance's father, Alex Goins, noting that his son has always been a natural at math. “He wanted it bad. This is a big deal.”

Math Counts was established during the 2011/12 school year by the Butler County Community Resource Council’s Children and Youth Succeeding in School Committee under which Harris serves as chairperson. “This is a tremendous achievement, and we are immensely proud of their hard work and dedication,” CRC Executive Director Rebeca Pacheco wrote to parents of the finalists in a letter.

The concept for the contest came from a brainstorming session when committee members were determining how to motivate students to learn their multiplication tables, Harris recalled. The championship originally featured the top math students from each of Poplar Bluff’s lower elementary schools until the Middle School shifted to incorporate grade four, and Lake Road later expanded its grade configuration.


Cutline: Organizer Kathern Harris of the CRC presents the Math Counts trophy to (right to left) Chance Goins while recognizing finalists Harper Olivas-Zuniga, Landri Slayton and Bowen Crook.

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